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28 July 2014 | Gurjit Degun
The logistics industry could see a £11 million a year boost as the government has announced it intends to raise the speed limit for lorries on single carriageway roads to 50 mph.
Transport minister Claire Perry announced the move “to cut congestion, reduce dangerous overtaking and help get the country moving”.
Perry said that heavy goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes are "stuck" at 40 mph on single carriageway roads "a speed limit set in the 1960s”. She added that this is “at odds” with other large vehicles on the roads.
“This change will remove a 20 mph difference between lorry and car speed limits, cutting dangerous overtaking and bringing permitted lorry speeds into line with other large vehicles like coaches and caravans,” said Perry. “Current speed limits for HGVs were introduced around 50 years ago and need to be updated given improved vehicle technology.”
The change in speed limits for will come into force in early 2015 and will bring England and Wales in line with other European countries, such as Denmark and Norway.
The government is also consulting on plans to increase speed limits for heavy goods vehicles on dual carriageways from 50 mph to 60 mph.
Road Haulage Association chief executive Geoff Dunning welcomed the news. “The current limit is long out of date and the frustration it generates causes unnecessary road safety risks,” he said.
However, road safety charity Brake has condemned the change. Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive for Brake, explained an increase in speed “equal increases in crashes and casualties”.
“At the same time, the road safety justification for this move is dubious: we are not aware of evidence it will help tackle risky overtaking, which should be addressed through other means,” she added. “Pronounced speed differences between traffic can pose a risk, but the way to address this is by preventing car drivers going too fast, not speeding trucks up. The minister says she wants to get the country moving, but we ask at what cost to road users and the environment?”